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Volitional pragmatism

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  • Bromley, Daniel W.

Abstract

Pragmatism approaches the problem of knowing through a commitment to diagnostic strategies that offer tentative answers to the vexing question of "why." When we can answer the "why question" we are on our way to explanation. But all answers are provisional--fallible. Beliefs are rules for action, and so pragmatism asks us to find reasons for holding particular beliefs, and it asks us to be open to reasons why those beliefs may, on further reflection, be open to yet further doubt. Pragmatism turned the positivist's world upside down by refusing to entertain the possibility that human agency, even with elaborate training and great practice, could defeat a world of indeterminacy. The modernist quest for assured rationality and abiding truth in the world is a chimera. Rather, pragmatists take the world as it seems to be and offer coping strategies that dispense with willful deceit. That is, pragmatism is concerned with mastering a complex world. Pragmatism is realistic in its acknowledgement of an opaque world, and it is mature in its epistemological ambitions and promises. Pragmatism replaces the arrogance of modernism with the cautious discernment of one who is deeply cognizant of an unruly world, yet intent on working out reasonable beliefs about that world.

Suggested Citation

  • Bromley, Daniel W., 2008. "Volitional pragmatism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 1-13, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2008:i:1-2:p:1-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Thiel, Andreas, 2014. "Developing an analytical framework for reconstructing the scalar reorganization of water governance as institutional change: The case of Southern Spain," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 378-391.
    2. Clive L. Spash, 2012. "Ecological Economics and Philosophy of Science: Ontology, Epistemology, Methodology and Ideology," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2012_03, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    3. Zimmerman, Frederick J., 2013. "Habit, custom, and power: A multi-level theory of population health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 47-56.
    4. Gaël Plumecocq, 2014. "Rhetoric as a Means for Sustainable Development Policy," Post-Print hal-00994992, HAL.
    5. Juha Hiedanpaa & Daniel W. Bromley, 2012. "Contestations Over Biodiversity Protection: Considering Peircean Semiosis," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(3), pages 357-378, August.
    6. Gaël Plumecocq, 2013. "L'action publique entre rhétorique et légitimité : une analyse des politiques locales de développement durable en termes de besoins fondamentaux," Post-Print hal-00994921, HAL.
    7. Strunz, Sebastian & Klauer, Bernd & Ring, Irene & Schiller, Johannes, 2014. "Between Scylla and Charybdis: On the place of economic methods and concepts within ecological economics," UFZ Discussion Papers 26/2014, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    8. Ansell, Christopher K. & Bartenberger, Martin, 2016. "Varieties of experimentalism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 64-73.
    9. Thiel, Andreas, 2012. "The politics of problem solving: A co-evolutionary perspective on the recent scalar reorganisation of water governance in Germany," UFZ Discussion Papers 09/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    10. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:97-104 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Valatin, Gregory & Moseley, Darren & Dandy, Norman, 2016. "Insights from behavioural economics for forest economics and environmental policy: Potential nudges to encourage woodland creation for climate change mitigation and adaptation?," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 27-36.
    12. Thiel, Andreas, 2013. "Towards Understanding the Scalar Re-Organisation of Natural Resource Governance: Factors Derived from Water Governance in Spain, Portugal and Germany," 53rd Annual Conference, Berlin, Germany, September 25-27, 2013 156967, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    13. Gaël Plumecocq, 2013. "The Institutionalisation of Multi-level Changes: Sustainable Development, Values and Territory," Post-Print hal-00994871, HAL.
    14. Spash, Clive L., 2013. "The shallow or the deep ecological economics movement?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 351-362.
    15. Spash, Clive L., 2012. "New foundations for ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 36-47.

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